The Night Josie Sang
Youth Honor Awards 2003
Josie sang. Josie sang loud and clear. That night she wanted everybody to know she could sing. After being rejected for the school musical, Josie was afraid people would think that she couldn't sing, but Josie knew she could. She was in the church and school choirs. She sang in the shower and at home. She didn't know why they hadn't cast her in the musical, but she knew tonight she would sing the best she could.
Josie Faborila was at a school potluck and fundraiser. Anyone who had wanted to be in the talent contest could. Josie had signed up only a couple days before, after her friend Helen had encouraged her to. That didn't leave her much time to practice. Whoever won first place in the talent contest would get to perfrom at a place for kids with disabilities. Josie wanted to win. Not to do the other performance, but to show people she did know how to sing.
After everybody had performed, the judges announced the first, second, and third winners.
"And in first place," said the judge, "Josie Faborila." Josie was so excited she hugged all of her friends. The thirteen-year-old jumped up and down with joy. She had won, she had won!! Josie was so excited. But then she realized she would have to sing to those kids. What if they didn't like her? What if they laughed at her. She knew disabilities didn't always stop someone from being mean. Her neighbor was in a wheelchair and yelled at her all the time. But, oh well. There were worst things that could happen. what if one of the kids was sick in the head and threw something at her on accident? The thoughts were endless. What if...what if...what if...
"Josie, go on stage!" Josie's mother was pointing to the stage where the judge was motioning for her to come up.
"What? Oh!" Josie walked to the stage. Everybody was clapping and cheering. The judge told her about her prize and people clapped more.
A week later Josie was getting into her car to go to the local home for kids who needed special care. She was nervous, but ready. When she got there, she was going to perform and then talk to the other kids. She thought that was going to be the hard part, but she was wrong.
When Josie finished, everybody clapped and she bowed. The workers handed out punch and cookies and Josie went to talk to the other kids. They were nice and told her how they enjoyed her singing. Josie noticed a girl in the back who was in a wheelchair. Josie walked over and sat by her.
"Did you like my singing?" Josie asked. The girl nodded her head. She didn't smile; she didn't even look up.
"Oh don't mind her," said Amy, a girl with Down Syndrome who Josie had talked to earlier. "Evelyn doesn't talk to anybody."
"Your name's Evelyn?" asked Josie, continuing with the 'conversation'. "How pretty! Mine is Josie, Josie Faborila."
"Oh," said Evelyn in a very soft voice.
"Well, it's time for me to go now. Bye," said Josie, waving good-bye to the quiet girl.
Eight days later, on a windy day after school, Josie went back to the kids' home. She wanted to visit Evelyn again. When she went up to the front desk, she told the lady she would like to see Evelyn please, in a very grown-up voice. The lady gave her a strange look, but let her in. Josie went in to the room divided by a blue curtain. Evelyn was sitting in her chair by the window. Everything in the room was very neat and clean.
"Hi, Evelyn. I came to visit you again. It's me Josie, remember from Saturday?" For the next hour Josie sat there, doing all the talking, telling Evelyn about school and stuff.
Evelyn just sat and listened, but when Josie got up to leave, Evelyn softly said, "Come back soon."
So Josie kept coming back to visit Evelyn, bringing her things like books or pieces of candy. She learned Evelyn had been in a car crash six years ago that killed her family and left her unable to walk. Josie kept visiting her each week, and soon learned that sometimes, better things come out of winning a contest than just winning.
-- Andrea Powell, 13, Eugene, Oregon.